Literal Idiomatic Translation
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About How The LIT Was Produced



By Hal Dekker


Last page update: 2017.04.30




The LIT - A Literal And Idiomatic Translation

- What Does Literal Mean?

- What Does Idiomatic Mean?

What Is The Literal Idiomatic Translation Glossary?

Translation Methodologies

- What Is Dynamic Equivalence (DE)?

- What Is Formal Equivalence (FE)?

Comparing Translation Methodologies

What Is An Honest Translation Methodology?

Standardization Of Translation

Truth In Translation, Accuracy, Readability And Elegance

- Truth In Translation - The Translator Is Responsible For This

- Accuracy - The Translator Is Responsible For This

- Grammatical Accuracy

- Inflected Form Accuracy

- Contextual Accuracy

- Figurative Accuracy

- Cultural Accuracy

- Readability - Both The Author And The Translator Are Responsible For This

- Elegance - The Author Is Responsible For This



Hello, and welcome.


On this page I would like to explain many details about how I made the LIT.  Most Bible readers are probably not knowledgeable about the many things which constitute a journalistically honest translation methodology, which methodology is constituted by the steps which must be taken in order to render an accurate English Bible translation.  "Journalistically honest" maybe fast becoming an oxymoron, but I use it in the sense of meaning which refers to a translation methodology which simply quotes the writers / apostles who wrote the 27 new testament books of a Bible.  Quoting an author means absolutely not using paraphrases, or creative "synonyming", which methods are abundantly used in virtually all Trinitarian-based Bibles, to "translate" into them triune godhead-related ideas and concepts, where none exist in the Greek texts.  I show many examples of this kind of scriptural tampering throughout this website. 


Another element of journalistic honesty in translation is about rendering the words in the Greek texts with their specific English counterparts, which English words and phrases mean exactly what the authors wrote, right down to the level of the inflected form of a word, adding absolutely not one thing, changing absolutely not one thing, and deleting absolutely not one thing, into the English translation. 


When I accidentally began the LIT about 24 years ago, I began it for me, because I wanted to know exactly what the prophets and apostles wrote without any denominational theological aberrations amalgamated into a Bible translation.  Have you ever noticed how many English Bible translations have piled up over the last two or three hundred years?  I guess about well over two hundred, from my own internet searches.  I haven't found one yet, not one, which simply quotes the apostles.  They are all more or less paraphrases, between about 50 - 80%, to paraphrase-in elements of the 4th century triune godhead invention.  But apparently there is not one Bible which quotes, all the way through, the apostles! 


I'm not a Jehovah's Witness, and never have been.  In fact, I don't have much of a clue about what is that organization's specific denominational doctrine.  But I can tell you a fact which may surprise you.  If anyone was to take any Bible translation and compare it word for word to the UBS4 or NA27 sets of Greek texts to see how accurately and consistently the New World Bible Translation (NWT) Committee translated Greek words into their English counterparts, as I and many others have done, he or she would discover that the NWT is most likely the second most accurate and precise Bible translation in the world, with the exception of my own LIT.  I may be biased, but I just spent 24 years looking up and researching, again and again, about 18,400 unique inflected forms of the Koine Greek language, to make certain my LIT is microscopically precise in its accuracy.  My only criticism of the NWT is that the translators were not bold enough in allowing the rude, bold Truth of God's Word, inherent in the Greek texts, to fully come out and challenge egomaniacal self-omniscience inherent, and at the root of every so-called Christian denomination.  By the way, denominationalism isn't inclusive, its exclusive.


If anyone dares to momentarily leave their denominational nest to look around a bit, I recommend you read Truth In Translation - Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament by Jason David BeDuhn.  For the old covenant texts you should read another book based upon the same analytical model, but by a different author, Truth In Translation - Accuracy and Surprising Bias in the Old Testament, by A. Frances Werner.  If anyone wishes to risk exposing their mind to the facts and truth about the quality of Bible translations, which risk means probably flushing erroneous preconceived ideas, false beliefs and hogwash out of your mind, these two books are a great place for you to start, along with reading the LIT, of course. 


The LIT - A Literal and Idiomatic Translation


Some who are uninformed about translation issues, commenting on translation issues, claim that a literal translation cannot simultaneously be an idiomatic translation. They claim that language idioms / colloquialisms and figures of speech cannot be literally reproduced word for word into another language.  Yes, they absolutely can, as I demonstrate throughout the Literal Idiomatic Translation (LIT), and explain them in its companion work, the Literal Idiomatic Translation Glossary (LITG)! 


As with any vocation, a disciplined study of all of its essential components must be done, and to some extent must remain an ongoing process, in order for one to first gain, and then keep on building, one's skill level and proficiency in it. Likewise, as a reader practices becoming familiar with the "feel" of the way the ancient writers of God's Word actually thought and subsequently spoke and wrote, a reader, through simply reading what the ancient writers wrote, will quickly learn to recognize and understand many of their common colloquialisms, idioms, and figures of speech, on sight, the very same way that a little baby, who hasn't yet earned a Ph. D., can learn to communicate. 


I believe the majority of occurrences of Greek idioms can be immediately understood by most all readers whose native language is English. This is because many of our modern English colloquialisms, idioms, and figures of speech, have come down to us from the Greek language; and not only millenniums ago, but in many cases millenniums ago before that, from the ancient Hebrew language, and other languages!  


- What Does Literal Mean?


What is "literal" about the LIT is that it is literally a quote of both exactly what the writers wrote, and exactly how they wrote it, i.e., how they said what they said, based upon the grammatical structures and the inflected forms of the individual words they wrote.  The word literal has been said to be word for word, but the LIT is not strictly a word for word translation, because sometimes it takes two or three words in English to express what double and triple Greek compounded words mean.  But the LIT still is a word for word translation, if one counts each part of a Greek compound word as a word, which they really are, because that's how words in the Greek language have been built. 


For example: through taking various words like prepositions and verbs, and then sticking them together, another word is formed, such as apostellō; from apo meaning away from, and stellō meaning to set apart, which words compound together into meaning to send away, or simply to send


For another example, Greeks words are built from taking conjunctions and pronouns and sticking them together to make another word, such as kagō; from kai meaning and, and from egō meaning I, which Greeks words compound together into the meaning of and I


For another example, Greek words are built from taking conjunctions and nouns and sticking them together to make another word, such as paraklēsis; from para meaning beside, or alongside, and from kaleō meaning to call for, or to call for aloud, which Greeks words compound together into the meaning of to console, or to call alongside


For another example, Greek triple compound words can be built from double compounds.  Akatastasia (a-kata-stasia) Strong's # 181, is a triple compound made from a double of the preposition kata, meaning down, and histēmi, meaning to stand, which Greeks words compound together into kathistēmi, meaning of to appoint.  A triple compound new word is made from this through prefixing a particle of negation, a, which means un- in English, which new word, akatastasia, means instability.  This is how a-kata-histēmi is built together into the meaning instability.  So sometimes a Greek double or triple compound can have the meaning of a single English word, and likewise, a single compound Greek word may need to be rendered into two or three English words, which may be necessary to render the full Greek meaning into English. 


In the Greek language there are many various combinations of how words are stuck together to form new words with new meanings.  Instead of building blocks with a letter of the alphabet on it, which we played with as children to learn the alphabet and learn words, the Greek language is very similar, with each word being a building block which can be assembled with other words to form new words with new unique meanings.


So as  you can see, since many, many Greek words are compounds, translating a single Greek compound word into two or three English words, if necessary, or if two or three Greek words can be accurately translated into one English word, either way, a literal word for words, or words for word translation can be produced, and legitimately be considered to be a literal translation, which kind of translation is much more accurate in conveying a writer's meaning.  Word for word translation is absolutely not paraphrasing!  it's quoting what an author wrote.  You would be surprised to learn about how many "literal" translations there are, which word "literal" is in the name of the translation, which translations are still chucked full of paraphrases.  The word for word quoting style of the LIT is uniquely suited to making very explicit in English the exact meanings the authors expressed in the Greek texts of the new testament. 


Paraphrasing is rewording what a speaker said, or a writer wrote, instead of using the speaker's or writer's own words.  It's a lie from the devil that what the apostles wrote needs to be reworded!  What the apostles wrote, while being under direction of God's Spirit working in and through them as His agents, is already correct and without error, and therefore doesn't to be "fixed" through paraphrasing.  Paraphrasing the apostles is based upon the falsehood that the apostles often didn't or couldn't make themselves clear, which is a lie from who (John 8:44)?  The excuse for using paraphrases is that the use of different words are necessary to achieve greater clarity.  Clarity of what?  To make it "clear" that what the apostles wrote was based upon, or somehow related to, a possible triune godhead concept in their minds?  That's the lie.  They absolutely did not write having a triune godhead concept in their minds.  That mortal-made theology wasn't invented until the 4th century.


Just because the non-triune godhead orthodoxy about which Jesus Christ preached and taught, and about which the apostles wrote, is confusing to a Trinitarian, doesn't mean that the meaning of what the apostles wrote is confusing to everyone else.  Only Trinitarians believe that what the apostles wrote is wrong in many places and needs to be "fixed" somehow, to reflect a feature of the triune godhead concept.  Biblical paraphrasing of what the prophets and apostles wrote is based upon Trinitarian private interpretations.  The Trinitarian desire to substantiate their false claim that Jesus Christ and his apostles secretly had a triune godhead concept in their minds, or that the orthodoxy that the one true highest God taught to His son Christ Jesus was wrong and needed to be fixed, is the overwhelming driver of the "need" for paraphrasing.  Other than that, there is no need for paraphrasing whatsoever.  Anyone can read the LIT from Mat. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21, and see that there is no paraphrasing whatsoever, because none is necessary.  The apostles can be quoted word for word, and the meanings of the words they wrote are crystal clear, just the way they wrote it!  If someone doesn't understand what they meant, or doesn't agree with the apostle's abundant contradictions of features of the triune godhead invention, slapping Trinitarian-based paraphrased lies over those many passages may satisfy your preconceived ideas and beliefs, but that's not honest translation, it's lying. 


The truth is this: the use of paraphrases in Bible "translations" is done so that the triune godhead theology of the religious cartel sponsoring a Bible translation can be sculpted / fudged into a Bible in such a way as to make the apostles sound like they wrote based upon having a triune godhead theology.  That is post-history revision, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is lying!  The rewording of exactly what apostles wrote is done to opportunistically use certain biblical passages, into which aspects of a triune godhead concept can somehow be imagined, to make them more "clearly" sound like the authors who wrote them wrote based upon having a triune godhead concept of some kind.  To paraphrasers, many things Jesus Christ said, and many things the apostles wrote, flatly contradict aspects of a triune godhead concept, and they can't allow that to stand unaltered.  And the reason why virtually all English Bible translations are 50-80 % paraphrases,  is because virtually all English Bible translations, or maybe all Bible translations in any language, are produced by Trinitarian denominational cartels.


In paraphrased translations, which is virtually all translations, in which "synonyms" are heavily used, paraphrases literally disassociate various passages from one another in which the writers are writing about the same subjects.  In heavily paraphrased translations, in many passages in which the same Greek word or words, phrases, and sentence structures are used, what appear to be off the cuff paraphrases isolate those passages from one another, as if the destruction of subject matter continuity between those passages was and is deliberate.  This is the huge problem associated with sense for sense-based translations, which is just another way of making an excuse for using paraphrases, which again are what constitute virtually all Bible translations having been produced. 


Contrary to a literal translation, I believe sense for sense Bible translations are products designed to more abundantly glorify various aspects of the triune godhead invention, and are much less about honoring the God and His Truth, and about honoring Christ Jesus and his apostles.  Sense for sense translations are like gold settings, in which the gem of the triune godhead concept must be showcased.  A gem needs to be viewed in its proper setting, and under the correct "light", so that as many features as possible are given an opportunity to glimmer and shine.  And so a feature of sense for sense translations is the use of mortalkind-invented elements of style and elegance incorporated into the endless paraphrases, where none such words and elements exist in the Greek texts.  What Jesus Christ spoke, and his apostles wrote, was absolutely not meant to entertain, but to seriously inform.  That's one of the reasons the children of Israel killed all of their prophets, they were too serious, and not entertaining enough.


These kinds of Bible translations support the notion that no one can really ever know and understand exactly what any given biblical passage truly means, since the insinuation is that the apostles couldn't write sentences and passages that conveyed clear and unambiguous meanings, passages which stated unadulterated spiritual facts and truths  A literal quote translation completely removes this kind of systematic theologically-based error and subsequently produced obfuscations, to show exactly what the ancient writers actually wrote through standardization of translation.  A Bible translation which literally quotes exactly what the ancient writers wrote is a very bright light of Truth, which when compared to paraphrased Bibles reveals the extent to which they have been altered.

A huge false belief about translation methodology is based upon a false dichotomy often uttered by those who know nothing about translation.  The false belief is that a word for word translation is bound to mis-translate idioms.  Whereas in a paraphrased Bible, where liberties are taken to carefully sculpt wordage into specific meanings, idioms can be made clearer.  That belief is so much goopucky on the barn floor!  The truth is that careful attention to idioms, colloquialisms, and other figures of speech, is generally ignored in virtually all Bible translations, and replaced with paraphrases of what the Bible producers want people to read and believe.  Trinitarian Bible translations want to push the triune godhead invention.  Paying close attention to exactly what and how a biblical writer wrote something is too trivial of a detail to get in the way of good paraphrasing.  The greatest critic of "good" paraphrasing is probably E. W. Bullinger himself, judging from the contents of his comprehensive book on figures of speech used in the Bible, and all of the marginal notes in his Companion Bible correcting so many paraphrases so the reader can actually see and understand what the authors actually wrote and meant. 


In Bullinger's work on figures of speech, from cover to cover he's constantly correcting paraphrased biblical passages in which the translators either missed recognizing a figure, or ignored it.  Either way, apparently the use of paraphrases don't seem to insure the proper attention and respect due to an author's use of words figuratively.  One of the issues about figures of speech related to paraphrasing which Bullinger doesn't address in his book is the fabrication of figures of speech in translation which don't exist in the Hebrew or Greek texts.  For example the figure idiom:  In Mat. 10:29 the author used the emphatic particle of negation ou twice.  But which grammatical part of speech did the author intend it to modify?  From my experiential knowledge of personally examining all 1,537 occurrences throughout all of the new covenant texts, a general rule could be observed that ou is intended to modify the word or phrase which it immediately precedes.


Mat. 10:29a (LIT/UBS4) [Are] absolutely not (ouchi) two (duo) little birds (strouthia) sold (pōleitai) for a tenth of a drachma (assariou)?  


As in the Greek text, in 29a the LIT shows ouchi (an inflected form of ou) joined with duo (the cardinal number 2) used as an adjective to modify little birds, the predicate. 


The author's use of ou in 29a puts the emphasis on exactly two little birds, no more and no less, are equivalent in value to a tenth of a drachma.


Mat. 10:29b (LIT/UBS4) And (kai) one (hen) out (ex) of them (autōn) shall absolutely not cause itself to fall (ou peseitai) upon (epi) the (tēn) land (gēn) without (aneu) [the knowledge] of the (tou) Father (patros) of you (humōn)!


 In 29b, as in the Greek text, ou is joined to the verb peseitai to give it a more emphatic meaning.  One out of them, worth so little value as even a twentieth of a drachma, one apparently worthless and valueless sinner (my interpretation), shall absolutely not cause himself to fall... without [the knowledge] of the Father.  The use of ou in 29b puts the emphasis on us, a little bird, causing itself to fall.


29a, according to E. W. Bullinger, follows the Hebrew idiom of joining a particle of negative to a numeral.


29b follows the Greek idiom of joining a particle of negation to a verb.


For Mat. 10:29, which verse I randomly selected, lets see how well several translations notice and preserve the writers use of the emphatic particle of negation ou, to specifically identify for the reader which word of phrase is the emphatic focal point within each sentence.  This is precisely the reason for why figures of speech are used, and how they are used, to identify for the reader the most important word or phrase in a sentence, to guide a reader into its proper understanding, so the reader gets the point.


The following analysis I did for the ASV, I did for all of the following translations.


In the ASV 29a is lightly paraphrased (penny?), but joins ouchi correctly.


In the ASV 29b is heavily paraphrased ("and not (ou) one of them shall fall...").  The unnecessary paraphrase erroneously joins ou to the numeral one (hen) instead of the verb, thusly doubling up on the Hebrew idiomatic usage but ignoring the greek idiomatic usage, and the ASV completely ignores the middle voice of the verb peseitai.  Through ignoring the author's switch of idioms, and ignoring the use of the middle voiced verb, the paraphrase destroys the writer's emphasis in the sentence, which emphasis is upon we, each little almost worthless bird, causes ourself to fall, when we don't continue to cause ourselves to become as the teacher of us (context, Mat. 10:25)


All of the following translations lightly paraphrase 29a, substituting in place of "a tenth of a drachma", the words penny, farthing, cent, halfpenny and assar, except the ICB, which very heavily paraphrases it, and ignores ou altogether.  (ASV, BBE, Darby, GW, HCSB, ICB, KJV, NASB77, NASB, NIV, NJB, WesleyNT, WEY, WuestNT, YLT).


 All of the following translations heavily, erroneously, paraphrase 29b. All of them incorrectly join ou to the numeral one (hen), instead of to the verb peseitai.  All of them ignore the middle voice of the verb peseitai.  Through all of the following translations ignoring the author's switch of idioms, and ignoring the use of the middle voiced verb, their paraphrases destroy the writer's emphasis in the sentence, which emphasis is upon we cause ourselves to fall.  We do it to ourselves.  (ASV, BBE, Darby, GW, HCSB, ICB, KJV, NASB77, NASB, NIV, NJB, WesleyNT, WEY, WuestNT, YLT).


Presently, a silver drachma weighing about .11 oz. is worth about 65 cents US.  So a tenth of a drachma is worth about 6.5 cents US, and a twentieth of a drachma is worth about 3.25 cents US.  Even those of us who feel we might be worth only about 3.5 cents, our heavenly Father will know about it if we cause ourselves to fall. 


What I've done here is to give you one example among thousands in a Bible translation, to demonstrate to you that the use of paraphrases in Bible translations is not intended to bring clarity to what the biblical authors wrote, but just the opposite, to destroy it!  Paraphrases, in general, are not used to given special consideration to figures of speech, but paraphrase destroy them, just like they are used to destroy biblical passages which contradict the triune godhead theory invented in the 4th century. 


In the LIT a word for word literal translation methodology is used throughout, which quoting of the writers is exactly what brings out and illuminates those colorful figures of speech.  The LIT is faithful to God's Word, and to the writer's of the biblical texts, right down to the microscopic level of a Greek words specific inflected form, to insure a writer is quoted correctly.  The LIT superscripts key English words to direct a reader's attention to the LITG, where in the texts colloquialisms, idioms, or other figures of speech, or cultural references, are attempted to be explained. 


The new covenant writers / apostles didn't constantly write in figures of speech, writing one right after another.  The biblical Greek of the new covenant writings is Koiné, common street language Greek, often bold, rude, direct, indicting, and cutting to the point, sometimes sarcastically.  Highly poetic styles of writing are much more so in the Hebrew texts of the Bible.  Trying to make what the apostles wrote in the Greek texts sound like anything other than bold, rude, direct, indicting, and cutting to the point, sometimes sarcastically, absolutely does not honestly and faithfully quote the writers of the new covenant books of the Bible.  What Christ Jesus said and did demonstrated how dead serious he was about your death.


The following is an excerpt from a page by Jay C. Treat:

Differences Between Classical and Hellenistic Greek

A Quick Introduction by Jay C. Treat



Robertson, A.T. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of historical Research. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934.

General Characterization

The sources listed above indicate ways in which Koiné (or Hellenistic) Greek differs from Classical Greek. The following is a summary of some of the main points they raise.

Robertson characterizes Koiné Greek as a later development of Classical Greek, that is, the dialect spoken in Attica (the region around Athens) during the classical period.

To all intents and purposes the vernacular κοινή is the later vernacular Attic with normal development under historical environment created by Alexander's conquests. On this base then were deposited varied influences from the other dialects, but not enough to change the essential Attic character of the language (Robertson, 71).

If the Koiné is an outgrowth of Classical Greek, what are the differences between the two? Robertson states the basic differences succinctly. Koiné was more practical than academic, putting the stress on clarity rather than eloquence. Its grammar was simplified, exceptions were decreased and generalized, inflections were dropped or harmonized, and sentence-construction made easier. Koiné was the language of life and not of books. -


- What Does Idiomatic Mean?


According to most dictionaries an idiom and a colloquialism are defined as more or less one and the same thing, the words being generally defined in meaning as being synonyms of one another.  But technically that's not true.  An idiom is a more specific kind of figure of speech, and a colloquialism is a more general kind of figure of speech, and they are not identical.  E. W. Bullinger speaks of idioms, but nothing about colloquialisms, as if colloquialisms do not exist.


Bullinger equates the historic meaning of an idiom as being one's own privately developed saying, a saying peculiar to an individual.  Even though idioms may come into existence this way, we know that many become used by others, by friends or relatives, and thereby they become popular and their use more or less adopted by others. 


The following definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary and others.


A figure of speech is a word, a phrase, a clause or a sentence in which the meanings of the words are not intended to be literal, but symbolic of other things.


A colloquialism is a figure of speech used in informal communication which can be a word, a phrase, a clause or a sentence used to communicate a meaning which can be deduced from the meanings of the individual words used.  A colloquialism is a more common expression used by someone in everyday conversation, as opposed to expressions that are more formal or literary in their usages.


An idiom is a figure of speech which can be a word (for single word idioms see Bullinger's work), a phrase, a clause or a sentence used to communicate a meaning which cannot be deduced from the meanings of the individual words used.  Idioms can be common expressions or formal or literary expressions.


Literary writing is designed to be poetic, artistic, dramatic, showy, entertaining, etc..  I can't recall any passages in the copies of the Greek texts of the new testament portion of the bible texts which appears to be written primarily to be poetic, artistic, dramatic or entertaining, although in the mind of a reader any passage may appear to be so.  But if so, those characteristics and qualities can only be subsequent to the more immediate purposes of God's Word, to impart knowledge of how mortalkind can obtain salvation mortalkind from its own sin and destruction (Hos. 4:6), and more specifically, that the God desires all mortals to be made whole, and to come to an experiential knowledge of Truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4).


But please bear with me on idioms for a few more minutes, since a clarification over the sake of erroneous beliefs about idioms is important.


E. W. Bullinger, in his book "Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible", recognizes at least

about a couple hundred occurrences of the use of various idioms by the authors of the new covenant texts of the Bible.  In many of these occurrences recognized by Bullinger, who by any standard must be recognized as one of the great Biblical scholars of the 20th century, the Cambridge Dictionary's definition for an idiom, "its meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of the individual words used" doesn't hold true, else Bullinger imagines very many occurrences of idioms which should be classified as figures of another kind, or else he's imagining figures to write about in a book.


 But let's see.  Many of the idioms recognized by E. W. Bullinger in his book "Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible", can easily be understood in a word for word translation rendering, if the reader has enough knowledge of the holy scriptures and can recall what else has been written on the same subject matter in other related passages.


The first idiom listed by Bullinger in section I. Verbs In General, i. Idiomatic usage of Verbs. is in Mat. 17:11-12.


Mat. 17:11 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) the (ho) [Jesus] having been caused to make a decision (apokritheis), he enunciated (eipen), “Truly (men), Elijah (Hlias) is caused to come (erchetai)


(See Mal. 4:5-6; Mat. 11:7-15; Luke 1:17)


And (kai) he shall restore (apokatastēsei) all things (panta).


Mat. 17:12  (LIT/UBS4) But (de) I say (legō) to you (humin), that (hoti) Elijah (Hlias) already (ēdē) came (ēlthen), and (kai) they absolutely did not experientially know (ouk epegnōsan) him (auton)!


BUT (alla), they did (epoiēsan) in (en) him (autō) as many things as (hosa) they desired (ēthelēsan)!


Thusly (houtōs) the (ho) Son (huios) of the (tou) Mortal (anthrōpou) also (kai) is about (mellei) to suffer (paschein) under (hup’) them (autōn).”


 This is a word for word translation of this passage.  Jesus in verse 11 is obviously referring to John the Baptist, about whom Jesus explains in Mat. 11:7-15 was born from the womb with the Spirit of Elijah within him, which coming was prophesied by Malachi.  But I see no idiom here at all.  Question: Which exactly are the words which can't be understood at face value, because their meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of the individual words used


Jesus is simply, and straight forwardly, answering the question asked of him by his disciples in verse 10.  It was prophesied by the prophet Malachi that before the great and fearful day of the Lord Elijah would return (Mal. 4:5-6) (from where?) to preach and call again all the children of Israel to repentance to one another, specifically between fathers and their sons, which I believe includes the God once again reaching out to the hearts of people, to the "paths" where God searches for belief, belief in the hearts of His adopted children, the children of Israel.  The children of Israel corporately and its leaders failed to recognize the Spirit of Elijah working in and through John the Baptist (v, 12).  They slaughtered John the Baptist, and they are going to slaughter Jesus Christ also.


Here's Bullinger's explanation of the idiom he sees here:


"Matt. xvii. II.--' Elijah truly cometh first, and restoreth all things": i.e., shall begin to restore or design or attempt to do so, for Christ will be the real Restorer of all things.  The contrast here, however, is between Elijah and John, as brought out by the (men, v11) and the (de, v12).   "Elijah indeed (men, in one respect) cometh, and will restore all things, but (de, in another respect) I say to you that Elijah is come already,' etc." -- Bullinger, E. W.. Figures of Speech Used In The Bible. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Book House, 1968.


Bullinger says "truly in one respect...", and then, "but in another respect..."  The two different kinds of respects to which he is referring are clearly implicit in the LIT word for word portion of its translation, and appear explicit to any reader who knows and can recall to memory what has been written in other corresponding contexts of Mal. 4:5-6; Mat. 11:7-15; Luke 1:17.


The paraphrased KJV and KJV_2011, through at least not quoting word for word Mat. 17:11-12, especially the verb, obfuscates the meaning of what Jesus said.


 Mat. 17:11 (KJV_2011) And Jesus in answer said to them, Elijah truly will first come (erchetai), and restore all things.


Translating the verb erchetai as a future tense with an active voice as do both KJVs, to a reader makes Jesus sound like he was talking about something which was going to happen in the future.  But erchetai is actually in the present tense, middle or passive voice.  The translators got the verb translated wrong on two counts: wrong tense, and wrong voice.  This translator believes that the God chose the time, and then He caused the Spirit of Elijah to come, that it was sent by the God.  But the man John the Baptist caused himself (middle voice) to accept and to do the ministry of repentance for the children of Israel, for which the God called him.  It seemed more correct to me to translate the verb in the passive voice, on account of God sending John the Baptist as an agent of Him.


This is just one example of how translator's paraphrasing can obfuscate and destroy a biblical author's intended meaning of what he wrote.  Did Bullinger think he saw an idiom from reading the Greek text, or from reading a paraphrased English translation?  Translators, at least must do a word for word translation initially, to begin to determine if what they are rendering into English makes good sense in the flow of the subject matter of the immediate context.  If it makes little or no good sense, then that's an indicator that what they have just translated is perhaps an idiom, or another figure of speech of some kind, which will require further investigation and evaluation.


The erroneous belief that about 200 occurrences of idioms in the entire new covenant writings is a good enough excuse to completely abandon FE, a strict word for word translation methodology, is a belief which needs to be abandoned, not the indispensably valuable FE translation methodology.


How and ancient scriptural writer expressed their thoughts in their minds, whether literally or figuratively, has much to do with determining and understanding exactly what they meant.  In an English translation, Hebrew , Aramaic and Greek figures must be identified for the reader, along with any past or present evidence for their meanings.  Paying close attention to how an ancient writer wrote something and then presenting it that way to a reader, preserves for the reader exactly what the ancient writer wrote, which meaning must then be determined by the reader as well, whether the writer intended to express a literal or figurative meaning.  Whichever the meaning may be,  the LIT must respect exactly what the ancient writer wrote, since apostle Peter's witness to us is that the holy Spirit (the God who is Spirit (John 4:24, and there is only one Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17, 12:13; Eph. 2:18, 4:4) determined what His prophets and Christ's apostles wrote (2 Pet. 1:20-21). 


2 Pet. 1:20 (LIT/UBS4) we knowing (ginōskontes) this (touto) first (prōton), that (hoti) every (pasa) prophecy (prophēteia) of a writing (graphēs) is caused to come to pass (ginetai) absolutely not (ou) over one’s own letting loose (idias epiluseōs);


2 Pet. 1:21 (LIT/UBS4) because (gar) absolutely not (ou) of a mortal’s (anthrōpou) desire (thelēmati) was prophecy (prophēteia) brought (ēnechthē) in time past (pote)


BUT (alla), mortals (anthrōpoi) spoke (elalēsan) being brought (pheromenoi) under (hupo) [authority] of holy (hagiou) Spirit (pneumatos) from (apo) God (theou)!


This is why a paraphrase, which is simply an opinionated private interpretation of someone paraphrased into a "translation" in place of what the ancient writer actually wrote, has no place in the LIT, or in translations, unless it is deliberately set off and marked out as absolutely not being a quote of the author, but a theological belief of a translator, so the paraphrase doesn't appear to be what the author wrote.  I believe the reader has the right, and according to God's Word, has the responsibility to interpret for himself, with God's Spirit working in him, what God's Word means to him or her, based upon exactly what and how the ancient writers spoke and wrote under influence of God's Spirit working in and through them.


 Quoting the ancient writers naturally produces clarity in the meanings and subject matters about which they wrote.  And concerning the idioms and other figures of speech, and cultural references, the LITG attempts to explain what their meaning may possible be.  In most examples, through examining corresponding local and remote contexts referencing the same subject matters, a comprehensive analysis of the scriptural facts usually leads to plausible, if not compelling, conclusions.   It's up to each and every individual who desires to know God's Word whether they desire to read a quote of what the ancient writers actually wrote, the true orthodoxy of Christ Jesus, or a Bible fudged with a vast amount of Constantinian "Christian orthodoxy" paraphrases chucked into a "translation" in hundreds and hundreds of passages.


It's a reader's discipleship duty to identify, confront, and interpret for himself figurative passages, idioms, colloquialisms and other figures of speech once pointed out by the translator, instead of being only spoon-fed everything you're supposed to accept and "believe" without question (Acts 17:11).  Studying God's Word deep and hard is the work of discipleship to Christ Jesus.  This work is required to come into fellowship with God and His son Christ Jesus (1John 1:3).  This hard work is required for one to learn how to do and keep his part in his new covenant responsibilities to God and His son Christ Jesus!



What Is The Literal Idiomatic Translation Glossary?


The Literal Idiomatic Translation Glossary (LITG) is a glossary of idioms and idiomatic terms used by the ancient writers of the NT texts of the Bible.  In the LIT every word of every phrase of every clause of every sentence is a quote of exactly what the ancient writers wrote, and especially of how they wrote it. This is necessary to preserve into English the vitally important figures of speech, and the colorful idioms and colloquialisms common to that ancient Middle Eastern language and culture. These figures, idioms and colloquialisms are abundant, to say the least, in the ancient texts of the Bible.  But they are virtually ignored in Western English Bible translations, which are all highly based upon paraphrasing, the creative use of "synonyms", and the unsparing and abundant alterations of the inflected forms of most all verbs.


Because the LIT quotes the ancient writers of the biblical Greek texts, figures of speech appear much more conspicuously, they not being paraphrased into obfuscation, obscurity, and into oblivion.  The value to a reader from noticing them, and subsequently pondering over them, is obvious and self-explanatory.


The LITG is designed to be used as a reference to the LIT while reading the LIT to provide background knowledge, context, definitions and explanations of the various idioms, figures of speech and colloquialisms commonly used by those ancient writers to make their points.  I believe that understanding how the ancient writers said what they said, especially in regard to God's Spirit working in and through them as His agents, is essential to understanding exactly what they witness to us that the God said and meant. 


God's use of figures of speech in and throughout His Word is for the purpose of pointing out His most important statements about any subject matter within His Word.  A figure of speech, on account of the unusual way it uses words to express a thought, an idea, a scriptural fact and/or truth, puts emphasis on that scriptural fact and/or truth through singling it out from among the others being expressed.  This kind of emphasis put on a point He makes couldn't be achieved through stating that scriptural fact and/or truth as mundanely as others around it. 


E. W. Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used In The Bible is invaluable to a disciple of Christ Jesus in learning the well over two hundred various figures of speech which Bullinger has identified throughout the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.  The LIT Glossary of idioms used in the holy scriptures does not attempt to duplicate any of Bullinger's work.  When while translating the UBS4 I run across an ancient writer's use of what appears to me to be an idiom, I make an entry in the LITG based upon the Strong's number for the prominent word in that idiom.  In that entry I explain what I believe to be the writer's meaning based upon immediate, remote and local contexts associated to that passage's specific subject matter, and describe Western figures of speech and/or idioms which may be modern relatives to those ancient idioms. 


When cultural references are written about by the Biblical authors, which cultural practices are mostly unfamiliar to the West, I attempt to explain those as well, citing references to various authors and their books with which I'm familiar.


Translation Methodologies


If anyone chooses to verify English translations back to the Greek texts, one would come to a dramatic enlightenment that virtually all of the figures of speech and cultural language idioms and colloquialisms present in the Greek texts, which language methods the original authors used abundantly to convey the meanings of God's Word to us, are missing in the English translations!  Why is that?  If what the original writers of the biblical texts spoke, taught, and wrote as they were carried along under holy Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:20-21) is important for us to know, then isn't how they spoke, taught and wrote it somewhat important in determining the exact meaning of what they spoke, taught and wrote?  My answer to that is absolutely yes!


Can any reader of an English translation of a Bible know with 100% certainty that what they're reading is exactly what the ancient writers wrote?  Of course not.  No one can know that without making word by word comparisons of that English translation to the original language Hebrew and Greek texts.  What every reader should ask themselves is whether any mortal-made, liberal or otherwise, theological theories held by a Bible's sponsoring theological cartel have been injected into their Bible in place of what the ancient writers actually wrote and meant?  Again, my answer to that is absolutely yes!


So then, are our supposed beliefs really based upon the ancient writings of the writers of the holy scriptures, or are they based upon a conglomeration of pieces and parts of mortal-made liberal theological theories injected into Bibles through paraphrasing in place of what the ancient writers wrote, whenever and wherever in those ancient texts the ancient writers disagree with those mortal-made theological theories? 


Hundreds of millions of people reading Bible translations are depending upon what they read in a Bible "translation" as being exactly what the ancient writers wrote and meant, and that it is true, that what God has promised, He shall do.  They're depending on their chosen Bible translations because probably more than 99% of them don't compare word for word, or verse by verse, what their Bible translations say compared to the copies of the Greek texts from which those translations are supposedly taken.  I actually do compare Bible translations, word for word, and verse by verse, to the UBS4 texts, exactly, down into the morphological components of the actual words themselves, verifying exactly the type, mood, tense, voice, case, gender, person and number of each verb, and likewise for each part of speech. 


I have found that in these kinds of details is where much of the systematic fudging of English translations occurs, together with the adding, changing and deleting of words from the ancient texts, which is all handily done through paraphrasing and creative "synonyming".  This paraphrasing and creative "synonyming" is supposedly justified through the adoption of a very poor translation methodology, the Dynamic Equivalence translation methodology.  Dynamic Equivalence translation methodology is nothing more than an inadequate and false methodology used as an excuse by English Bible translators to fudge their own scripturally unsubstantiated theological theories into a Bible, and ultimately to raise those mortal-made theories up, over, and above the Truth of God's Word.


- What Is Dynamic Equivalence (DE)?


It is said that the purpose of DE, which is not a literal word for word rendering into English of the Greek texts, is to present the essential meanings, concepts, and ideas present in the Greek texts of the Bible, which meanings, concepts, and ideas are supposedly stranded in a two thousand year old culture estranged from a modern Western culture, into somewhat freely worded English renderings, to accommodate their implicit and explicit meanings into an English translation.  Simply quoting the ancient writers would do that, as I have shown and proven in the LIT.  What DE really does is accommodate the injection of the adopted explicit and implicit theological theories of mortal men, scholars, experts, Roman god-man emperors, translators and translation committees into a Bible translation. 


DE is the translation methodology which is most commonly used in virtually all Bible translations.  It's a mechanism created to legitimatize the unfettered use of paraphrases and creative "synonyms" to represent the supposed meanings, concepts, and ideas present in the ancient biblical texts.   


DE is the preferred translation methodology used by those who wish to overlay the mortal-made Trinitarian theological apparatus upon the holy scriptures, to remove and re-sculpt the ancient quotations of the ancient writers to make them sound like, through carefully word-smithed paraphrases and "synonyms", that they had wrote and spoke in Trinitarian theological terms.  But, those triune godhead invented theories and dogmas, and the triune godhead invented nomenclature and its associated terminology, absolutely didn't exist until about the mid 4th century AD.  In spite of its invention about 320 years after Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension, the orthodoxy which Jesus and his apostle preached and taught managed to save about 3,000 souls on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) in about 30 AD, and for many years thereafter throughout the entire time frame of the book of Acts, before his orthodoxy was suddenly declared to be in error, and heretical by Constantine at the Counsel of Nice in A.D. 325.


DE is the created mechanism the devil has created to be used to destroy the written record of the orthodoxy of Jesus Christ and his apostles.  Fortunately we still have the copies of the ancient Biblical texts and many other texts (likely a couple hundred or so), all of which were not destroyed as being heretical under Constantine.


Almost all past and present English translations are based upon a Dynamic Equivalence (DE) translation methodology.  DE basically means, "paraphrase the text in your own opinionated words", which usually results in the discounting and/or abandoning of the original words and their grammatically exact usages in the text, thus adding, changing and/or deleting not only nuances of subject matter and meaning, but in many places the subject matter all together, through eliminating the correct statement of Jesus' orthodoxy and its associated ideas.  As a result a DE translation literally becomes not a translation, but an opinionated interpretation of what its producers think the true orthodoxy should be, which is the orthodoxy they believe, or not believe but want others to believe.  This immediately limits the scope of their "translation" to accurately reflect  no more than the limits of their own spiritual understanding, which the reader is expected to buy off on as being 100% correct, infallible, and God-breathed.  


Thusly DE translations throw before our eyes, and expect us to gaze upon with wonder, those translation cartels' egotistical and cloudy layers of opinion about what God's Word may mean to them, rather than simply allowing a reader to see a quotation of what the ancient writers actually wrote and meant, in a literal word for word interlinear style translation before a reader's own eyes.  Personally, I want my mind trained and steeped in God's unadulterated Word.  I want my mind to recall verbatim exactly what God has said through the ancient writers, not other's paraphrases of those writers.  Therefore I believe translations should be just that, translations, not paraphrased interpretations posing as translations.  I made my own translation, the LIT, because through comparing Bible translations to the Greek texts I lost all confidence in those translations.  I post my translation here at this site in an interlinear style to give other believing disciples the same opportunity to compare my English words renderings to the exact inflected forms in the copies of those ancient Greek texts, the UBS4 collection.  


- What Is Formal Equivalence (FE)?


Formal Equivalency (FE) is the term used to describe a translation methodology which attempts to render a translation into English on, as close as possible, a word for word basis, selecting the best English equivalent word or words to render the meaning of the Greek texts into English. FE employs a more strict set of translation rules to render more closely the substance of the meanings of the words, and renders what are called literal translations. FE methodology closely preserves the unique style and grammar of each of the ancient writers, to not only preserve exactly what the author wrote, but as much as possible exactly the way the writer wrote it. When we come to customs, cultural practices and language idioms in the ancient texts, FE methodology attempts to preserve both the implicit meanings of the references and the way the text referenced them.  I created the LITG to preserve my word studies, notes and comments about references to customs and cultural things, and to idioms, colloquialisms and other figures of speech.


An FE translation methodology, at least the one I began using, and then tweaked and developed its rules to be even more strict, now the LITFE, requires a translator to account for every word in the original language text. But even more, it requires logical rules of standardization of translation be followed so that not even one yot or tittle is added, changed, or deleted, or left unaccounted for in the translation process (Mat. 5:18).  the LITFE translation methodology requires stricter adherence to preserving into English exactly what was written, and how it was written, by the author of a text. 


There are plenty of opportunities presented to us among all the ancient texts, to determine which of the vast amount of differences between them are the authentic Word of God which was spoken by mortals of God being carried along under holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21).  Some mortals have spent their entire lives researching which of these differences between the ancient texts are correct, such as those mortals among the seven popular textual critics, Alford, Elzevir, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles and Wordsworth.  


In Edward P. Blair's nice work, "The Illustrated Bible Handbook", 1987, Abington Press, Nashville, he offers an explanation as to what led to the differences that appear in the ancient manuscripts:

    "Ancient copyists and editors are responsible for the differences.  The changes they introduced were of two types: unintentional and deliberate.  Often copyists saw incorrectly; they confused look-alike letters, skipped lines of text, wrote words twice, transposed letters, etc.  In commercial establishments, where several copyists wrote from one person's dictation, careless pronunciation, lack of attention, weariness, and distractions led to frequent mistakes.  Error arose also from writing passages from memory and from inaccurately judging whether marginal notes (glosses) were to be included or omitted.


    Sometimes copyists and editors deliberately altered language they regarded as rough, harmonized parallel passages where differences should have been preserved, removed discrepancies, left out or changed statements which were contrary to their theology, and filled out manuscripts that were damaged or thought incomplete."  (E. P. Blair)

Wouldn't you like the opportunity to form your own opinion based upon your own careful observation of the unaltered texts?  A text revised for the findings of the popular seven textual critics mentioned above helps us get back very closely to a text more reflective of what was originally spoken by those mortals of God as they were carried along under holy Spirit.  Working from these texts, a strict FE-based translation can be made which leaves the copyists and translators opinions and preconceived ideas out of the translation altogether.  Further, then presenting both the original language text's words and their equivalent English word counterparts in an interlinear style format affords the reader the best opportunity to become thrilled in their heart, mind, and soul at the wisdom and beauty of God's Word, which the prophets and Jesus' apostles wrote. 


God's Word, being mathematically exact in its form and structures (See Bullinger's work), resonates Truth, which resonance is in harmony within the structures of all things God has created, formed and made, including our brain cells.  I want my mind trained to think and resonate based upon God's pure words.  I want my thought patterns rearranged to be identical to God's patterns of thought He gives in His Word, which Jesus Christ made to be his thoughts.  This is called renewing the mind (Rom. 12:2) and putting on the new mortal (Eph. 2:24; Col. 3;10).  


FE methodology generally gives the reader a critical first-hand look at God's Word before it becomes filtered through paraphrased liberal theological opinions.  Anyone knowledgeable of how Satan the devil uses God's Word, twisting and spinning it into half-truths and lies for his own purposes, should be able to appreciate the inherent safeguarding of the integrity of God's Word in a FE-based translation.  When presenting the original language text alongside with the English translation, as I do in my translations, there is no where to hide loose and/or opinionated paraphrasing where a light cannot be shined upon it for a closer look, to compare it to the exact grammatical usage and inflected form of each word in the original language texts.  


FE translation methodology forces the elimination of unnecessary paraphrasing.  If a translator has a strong feeling, an opinion, or whatever, they should put it in separate book, a glossary, or a commentary.  But opinions don't belong translated into a Bible translation as paraphrases, because the real author of the book should be quoted, no more and no less.  


Difficulties in proper interpretation of the texts are born not out of following the accuracy of the ancient texts, but from ignoring the accuracy of those texts!  From the ignorance of the accuracy of those texts come theological propagations, obfuscations, accusations, arguments, confusion and lies.  Endless theological arguments may seem plausible to some, when compared to nothing.  Comparing arguments and theories to scriptural facts in the copies of the ancient texts means everything in discovering the true orthodoxy of Jesus Christ, which he and his apostles preached and taught.

Comparing Translation Methodologies


Here's a chart I found online by Brent MacDonald, which I assume is his opinion, of how Bible translations compare to one another on a methodology line ranging from Word for Word on the left to Paraphrase on the right.


I disagree with the chart entirely, since every Bible given is highly paraphrased, or should I say highly filled with mis-quotes of the ancient authors of the books within those Bible translations. 




Mr. MacDonald has included notes for each translation suggesting, in his opinion, how careful were their translators to include, or not to include, gender neutral language, and approximate overall reading grade level required to best comprehend the translator's chosen wording when not quoting the ancient authors.  In my opinion these things don't matter when a translator is supposed to be quoting, verbatim, what the original authors actually said, and the way they said it.  Changing it somehow through paraphrasing it, or creatively "synonyming" it into something else is not theologically neutral translating, but privately interpreting it for the readers through the translator's possibly biased eyes, and thinking, and beliefs.


From comparing exactly what the ancient writers wrote in the existing copies of their Greek texts (UBS4) to all of these "translations", then beginning with the Interlinear on the left and including all the translations to the right of it, they all belong under the "Paraphrase" part of the scale; because they all, more or less, inject those supposedly "nascent" triune godhead references directly out of the created theological soap opera cloud (which theological cloud has grown fairly huge over the last sixteen hundred years) right into their English "translations".  They couldn't care less about quoting exactly what Jesus Christ and his apostles actually said and wrote.


If a translation was allowed to show only exactly what the ancient writers of the NT of the Bible actually wrote, word for word, then suddenly all of the supposed nascent references to a triune godhead would no longer appear!  The LIT dramatically shows this to be true!  It adds nothing, changes nothing, and deletes nothing from the actual wording of the ancient writers of the NT of the Bible.  That means something very important about the subject of truth in translation, and about the devil trying to add, change, or delete what the witnesses of "God's Word" actually said.  I'm wondering which, or whose, "truth" are those "translations" trying to get readers to believe? 


Doesn't believing that God's (YHWH) son is equal to Him have something to do with subordinating the one true highest God to no longer being the highest God (Luke 1:32-33; 1 Cor. 15:27-28; Luke 1:76)?  Doesn't worshipping another god as being an equal to the highest God break the first commandment (Exod. 20:3, 23:13)?  Please don't neglect to read Php. 2:5-6 in the LIT, which is fudged in most all other translations, where apostle Paul clearly states that the thought of being equal to his heavenly Father, of stealing equality, never crossed Jesus' mind! 


The being whom apostle John calls the Word worked for the councils of God (Elohim) in Gen. 1:1 as their agent (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2).  But that reference in and of itself in no way implies the Word was equal to the highest God, YHWH.  That verse is not a one verse doctrine, but must be understood in light of the whole of God's Word, and especially in light of John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 1:1, 22:8-21.  The Word was a spirit-based being, an angel / messenger (angelos) (Heb. 1:1-4; Rev. 1:1, 22:8-21), as he is portrayed throughout all of the old testament books, which spirit-based "form" made him godlike compared to mortals.  But just because the Word had a spirit-based "form" didn't make him equal to the highest God, YHWH.  Please see my study, John 1:1 - Why Ignore The Nominative Case?


Ignoring erroneous additions, changes and deletions to the ancient Greek texts, ignoring verb inflections on a mass scale, rampant mistranslating of the meanings of nouns, capitalizing adjectives to magically transform them into proper nouns and parts of titles, adding articles where none exist in the texts, rampant needless use of "synonyms" and paraphrasing, ignorance of figures of speech like ellipsis, and so on and on, to fudge the mortal-made triune godhead theory into the texts of the ancient writers in English translations, is absolutely not honest translation, but bigoted and egomaniacal post-history revision! 


Through examination of the Greek texts we can see that the ancient writers are in lock step agreement with one another's writings of a totally different presentation of the mystery of Godliness, and especially in their Christological presentation of the identity of Christ Jesus, from that "new orthodoxy".  The apostles of Christ Jesus preached, taught and wrote repeatedly to the first century believers, who apparently could read, that the Word in the beginning was an angel / messenger (angelos) who had a birth of some kind (Col. 1:15)! 


The implication that "Thought for Thought" or "Paraphrase" translation methodologies have any footing in legitimacy in producing an honest translation, a translation which simply quotes the ancient writers of the holy scriptures, is simply showbiz!  Those methods are advertised to be legitimate simply to legitimatize and thereby facilitate the fudging of the ancient texts with later invented mortal-made theological theories, which theories apostle Paul defines and condemns as mortal-made wisdom, or worldly wisdom (1 Cor. 2; 3:19; 2 Cor. 1:12; James 3:14-18)


To dishonestly portray mortal-made theories as already being in the minds of the ancient writers of the Biblical texts at the time when they wrote their writings, through fudging English translations, which is at least post-history revision and falsification of God's word, can only be blasphemy of God, of His Word, and of His son Christ Jesus! From what I can see from reading and translating the ancient Greek texts of the new testament of the Bible for the last 22 years is that what's currently acceptable to most all scholars as honest translation methodology is actually lying on a grand scale!  Do they actually think and believe that the highest God, YHWH, is looking the other way, not to mention: where is Christ Jesus looking?


The LIT's use of an interlinear style of presentation allows any deviations in English translation from exactly what the ancient writers wrote to be relatively quickly and easily spotted by any readers, since I show the exact inflected spelling of the Greek word next to the English word which represents it.  Then subsequently any reader can quickly check and substantiate the English translated word or words for both grammatical meaning and form, using an analytical lexicon to the Greek New Testament, such as that of William D. Mounce, and with the use of any number of popular word study resources, such as those of AMG, Brown-Driver-Briggs, Robertson's, Strong's, Thayer's, Vincent's, Vines, Wuest's, and Zodhiates.  It is the LIT's adherence to these very tight formal equivalency translation guidelines and presentation style which allows me to produce a translation which quotes the ancient writers, and thereby a translation which exposes the abundance of mortal-made liberal theological bias "translated" into virtually all other existing English translations, not to mention God only knows how many "translations" in all other languages!


I am making my translation for me, and absolutely not to satisfy or substantiate any denomination's traditional mortal-made theological theories of any kind.  Whatever theological points are self-evident in the Greek texts (UBS4) of God's Word, those are the ones I shall eventually discover and learn as I continue to translate my way through it, word by word and line by line. God's big enough to make Himself clear and explicit. Whatever is in God's Word I am certain to discover it, about which I have His promise (John 6:45; 1 Thes. 4:9).  I believe the eclectic UBS4 is a good text, but it's not the only textual resource, nor the last word in determining the authenticity of what the ancient writers actually wrote, since the copies of the Greek texts have been fudged in many places over the last two millenniums, very similar to and for the same reasons the English translations continue to be fudged in many places, more and more. 



What Is An Honest Translation Methodology?


From what I've seen from comparing many popular English translations to the UBS4 Greek texts, virtually all "translations" are on average about 80% "hermeneutical" paraphrasing, if the translator's neglect of inflected forms of verbs is accounted for also. Ignoring the writer's inflected forms of verbs, ignoring the type, mood, tense, voice, case, gender, person, and number, especially ignoring the voice, to make them say something else in English, must be considered as altering / fudging the translation to make it say something different from what the writer actually wrote. Why not simply quote the Biblical writers?


Unfortunately for those searching for the God through His son Christ Jesus, reading theologically fudged "translations" makes getting to know and understand those specific subjects referred to in God's Word by the prophets, Christ Jesus and his apostles as new covenant mysteries, almost impossible tasks to accomplish. In those passages, in most all Bible translations, the needle of the Paraphrasing Detect-O-Meter stays pegged at about 100%. How much paraphrasing saturates a passage of holy scripture is determined more or less by whether those subject matters directly or indirectly contradict certain elements of mortal-made theological ideas and their subsequent "orthodoxy" dreamed up at various times in the past.  Those passages which are now fudged because they more or less disagreed with elements of mortal-made theological ideas are now referred to as "theologically sensitive" passages, only because the forgers made them "sensitive" to destroy the true orthodoxy of Christ Jesus, which he and his disciples and apostles preached and taught.


To me, the most honest translation methodology ever used is probably the one I used to produce the LIT.



Standardization Of Translation


The LIT stays true to the authors' wording, since the LIT meticulously quotes the ancient Biblical writers.


The LIT's wording is based upon preserving the various authors' standardization of wording into an English translation.  Mimicking into an English translation exactly what and how an ancient writer wrote necessarily requires:


- selecting an English word which matches in scope of meaning the lexical root meaning of any Greek word's inflected form,


- and then presenting that English word in the identical inflected form in which the ancient writer chose to write it.


This is the basic methodology of honest translation. And this methodology produces a translation which quotes the ancient writers.


Generally speaking, given the exceptions for a writer's use of figures of speech such as idioms in the Greek of the new testament books of the Bible, every inflected form of a word's usage has an associated lexical root form, which lexical root form sets the basic meaning for any of its associated inflected forms.


By standardization of translation I mean that in an English translation the meaning of the word or phrase used to represent the meaning of its associated Greek word's inflected form, must be within the scope of meaning of the lexical form for that inflected form.


The following excerpt is from my analytical lexicon, which example shows the lexical root ergazomai, Strong's # 2038, a verb generally meaning to cause yourself to work.  As you can see, all of the verb forms are inflected into being either middle or passive voiced forms.  Its lexical meaning, as with any lexical root, is sculpted into more precise inflected meanings depending upon the combination of any of a verbs eight points of inflection, Type, Mood, Tense, Voice, Case, Gender, Person, and Number.











As you can see, three lexical noun forms, ergasia, ergatēs, and ergon are based upon this verb.  As you may see also, a noun has only four points of inflection, Case, Gender, Person, and Number, which can more finely sculpt a lexical form of a noun into an inflected form having a more precise meaning.


In the Infl_Form column please notice all the various inflected forms of spelling of the lexical root ergazomai.


In the Eng_trans column please notice how I translate an inflected form to have a meaning that's within the scope of meaning of its lexical root, but with that meaning finely tuned to take into consideration all of the various points of inflection, and combinations thereof, which are indicated based upon the exact spelling of the inflected form itself. On account of the comprehensive rules of Greek grammar, and on account of the thousands of examples in the Greek texts of how Christ Jesus' apostles wrote with great deliberate restraint, so that they would all preach, teach and write the same things (1 Cor. 1:10; Php. 3:16), any departure in translation from a roots lexical meaning, or from an inflected form's points of inflection, can only be considered as fudging / forging the translation with private interpretation.  And that is, in fact, lying!


Keeping the meaning of an English translation of an inflected form within the scope of meaning of its lexical form, and within the parameters of its specific points of inflection, is what I mean by a standardization of translation methodology.


A translation of an inflected form of a word which ignores the lexical root meaning of that inflected form, and/or ignores any of the specific points of inflection of that inflected form, is by necessity a translation in which the exact words of the author, and their vitally important meanings, are set aside and replaced by a "translator's" or translation committee's private interpretations. This is how sponsors of Bible translations get their theologically-biased beliefs and private interpretations of those beliefs "translated" into Bibles, like the Roman emperor god-man Constantine's triune godhead theological theory established in the 4th century.


The standardization of translation methodology which adheres to translating inflected forms of words to be within the scope of meaning of their associated lexical forms, and which takes into consideration all of an inflected form's vitally important points of inflection, produces the most appropriate text-driven English language word equivalents, and eliminates unnecessary theologically-based / -biased creative "synonyming" and creative "paraphrasing".


To state it succinctly, standardization of translation methodologically produces a translation which is essentially a quote of what an ancient author wrote. This is a brief and basic description of how I produce the Literal Idiomatic Translation (LIT), which simply quotes the ancient Biblical authors, the apostles of Christ Jesus.  A translator's ability to recognize an author's intended use of figures of speech, such as idioms, colloquialisms, etc., is also vitally important. The works of scholars such as E. W. Bullinger are invaluable in verifying passages of holy scripture where the grammatical structures of clauses and sentences apparently don't "add up" to make sense on initial surface inspection.


For example: Many of the new testament writers, especially apostle Paul, use a grammatical construction consisting of an article immediately followed by an adjective clause, which structure (and other similar ones) we know signals to the reader the author's deliberate omission of a head noun between the article and the clause, which omission is very often used to create the figure of speech Ellipsis. An ellipsis is a writer's use of a little word puzzle, where the author uses a blank in place of the head noun. This "fill in the blank" teaching method has apparently been used throughout all history of mankind. 


An ellipsis challenges the reader to go back through the preceding context of what the author wrote to find the author's previous obvious statement in which he used a specific noun having a vital meaning important to his point in the context. The reader must select among the nouns recently used to discover the one which seems to logically "fit" into the blank of the ellipsis, between the article and the clause. When the correct noun is selected and used to fill in the blank, bingo! Suddenly the author's main point becomes crystal clear, and his use of the little ellipsis word puzzle helps him to cement his point and/or spiritual truth into the mind and memory of the reader!  And of course, the apostle's wrote using Ellipsis with verbs as well.


Apostle Paul's letters are, as you may know, primarily about church doctrine / orthodoxy, specifically explaining in detail the true orthodoxy of Christ Jesus as he taught it to all of his disciples and apostles, and as Paul was given revelation of it from the resurrected and ascended Christ Jesus himself (Gal. 1:1-12).  In his letters apostle Paul is a master of the use of ellipsis, as we can see in the LIT, to describe and explain the new covenant mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Apostle Paul uses many figures of speech in his sophisticated style of writing, based upon his educational background (Acts 22:3), but he was especially fond of ellipsis since it helped greatly to contribute to his desired goal of brevity.  Even so, of all new testament writers, apostle Paul seems to be the greatest designer of run-on sentences.


All other Bible "translations" have fudged all of apostle Paul's passages containing his use of ellipsis with various creative synonyms and creative paraphrases, taking the opportunity to fudge-in their own theological private interpretations in all of those places. Virtually all English translations fudge-in wordage reminiscent of the mortal-made terminology invented to describe and explain the invention of Constantinian "Christianity" in the 4th century.  Apostle Paul wrote primarily about vitally important truths related to understanding the greatness of God's new covenant with His creation, truths vitally important to understanding the true orthodoxy of Christ Jesus, which the one true God, Jesus' heavenly Father, taught him. Among those truths is the spiritual truth related to the greatness of God's indwelling holy Spirit which will come into the being of anyone who dares to confess and believe upon the name of His son Christ Jesus. Apostle Paul was especially fond of making his points about all of these related spiritual truths using the figure ellipsis.


So now you may be able to begin to imagine how the destruction and obliteration of exactly what apostle Paul wrote, and how he wrote it, using ellipsis, has contributed to the destruction and obliteration of the true orthodoxy of Christ Jesus which he taught to his disciples and apostles, and which they passed on to us in the copies of the ancient Greek texts of the new testament of the Bible. In virtually all Bible translations all of apostle Paul's uses of ellipsis have been replaced with private theological interpretations using wordage reminiscent of the terminology invented to describe the Constantinian "Christianity" and its associated "orthodoxy" invented in the 4th century.



Truth in Translation, Accuracy, Readability And Elegance


Scholars of Greek grammar and of new testament studies refer to the quality of Bible translations as being based upon at least three measures, accuracy, readability and elegance.  I recently read a blog on the net by the well known biblical scholar Daniel B. Wallace, one of who's Greek books I have on my shelf, who has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and who is currently a professor of New testament Studies at his alma mater.  In his blog he answered a question, "...which version, the NIV or the ESV, has the best scholarly lineage of historical texts?" --


Dr. Wallace admitted it was a tough question, and I was impressed with his answer.  But in my opinion he really didn't get into what the fellow actually asked, about the quality of Bible translations being better or worse because they are based upon the best scholarly lineage of historical texts.  For the new testament books of a Bible the three lineages, or categories of historical Greek texts are, the Alexandrian text-type, including the 4th century Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, the Byzantine text-type (generally maximalist), and the Western text-type.  Dr. Wallace answered the fellow's question as if he meant "historical English translations", which may well be what he meant.


For the LIT I used the UBS4 eclectic Greek text, which has been assembled by many scholars working over hundreds of years to analyze many texts from these three categories above, and possibly others, and from a vast amount of other ancient texts, to try and produce a textual form which may be a form closest to the original forms of the Greek texts written by their authors.  While searching the world over for ancient Greek biblical texts, to compare and identify which parts of them my not be original to their authors, the seven popular textual critics, Elzevir (1624), Griesbach (1805), Lachmann (1842-1850), Tischendorf (1865-1872), Tregelles (1857-1872), Alford (1868, 1871, 1865, 1862, 1870), Wordsworth (1870), compiled notes with examples for those anomalies. 


These notes, and those of perhaps many other textual critics, were then applied almost in their entirety to a collection of what were believed to be the best Greek biblical texts available, and additions, changes, and deletions of parts of those texts were then made, based upon those notes, to produce the UBS4 eclectic Greek text.  Dr. Wallace apparently understood the question differently.  He answered the question by giving a short and high level summary of the history of the advancement in the quality of translation among various translations, such as what was deficient in this translation which led to this other translation, and so on.  Dr. Wallace gave a higher thumbs up to the NET translation over all the others he mentioned.


- Truth In Translation - The Translator Is Responsible For This


But since Dr. Wallace chose to answer the question the way he did, which may well be what the fellow asked, I was disappointed to not hear him give his opinion on the use of literal translations versus non-literal translations, and the advantages of literal translations over translations which are more highly infused with theologically-biased paraphrases and creative "synonyms".  The whole idea of truth in translation, which is so highly important given the subject matter, which is supposedly God's Word to mortalkind, he didn't comment upon it.  But isn't that the reason for making a new translation from the last, that the new one is a little more accurate in truthfully rendering what the author actually said, than what was translated in a previous translation?  Why should readability and elegance in a translation trump truth in translation?  But I assume he wanted to keep his answer brief. 


But I believe there is most definitely a strong link between quality of translation and truth in translation, since Truth and honesty in translation must be the intuitive and intrinsic essence of quality of a Bible translation, since supposedly the authors of the biblical books of a Bible wrote God's Word, and God states that His Word is Truth (John 17:17)!  In God's Word He emphatically calls attention to the Truth of His Word, since His writers give us a number of important scriptural facts about His Truth:


- that the God's Truth caused itself to come to pass through Jesus Christ (John 1:17);


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus come to the light through doing the Truth (John 3:21) if the Truth, their guiding light, is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus bow to their heavenly Father in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24) if the Truth about bowing in Spirit and in Truth is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus stay into the Word of God through Christ Jesus, and be made free from myths and lies by that Truth (John 8:32) if the Truth about how to be made free is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus follow him, follow the way, the Truth, and the life (John 14:6), if the Truth about the way, the Truth, and the life is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus learn about, and believe to receive from their heavenly Father, the Spirit of the Truth (John 14:17), if the Truth about the Spirit of the Truth is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus hear the witness of the Spirit of the Truth (John 15:26), if the Truth about how to receive the Spirit of the Truth is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus be led into Truth, into every part of it (John 16:13), if the Truth about how to be led into Truth is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus be made holy by the Truth (John 17:17), if the Truth about how to be made holy is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus hear his voice, his words of Truth (John 18:37), if the Truth about what Christ Jesus said is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus learn the words of Truth which apostle Paul spoke (Acts 26:25), if the Truth about what apostle Paul wrote is translated out of a Bible translation;


- and how can followers of Christ Jesus hear the Word of Truth, the Evangelism of the wholeness of them (Eph. 1:13), if the Evangelism of the wholeness of them is translated out of a Bible translation?


So which one of the generally accepted qualifiers of quality of translation do you think will trump truth in translation: accuracy, readability, or elegance?  If accuracy is compromised is truth in translation compromised or preserved? If readability is compromised is truth in translation compromised or preserved?  If elegance is compromised is truth in translation compromised or preserved?  In the definition of quality of translation, is truth in translation allowed to be compromised at all?


*** The whole Truth of any given subject matter does not need to be totally obliterated out of a Bible translation, in order to cause it to become obfuscated enough to cause the intelligibility of the meaning of the remaining parts of it to be called into question. 


This is how paraphrased and creatively "synonymed" Bible translations have destroyed the true orthodoxy of the one true God, His Word, the Truth, which orthodoxy He taught to His son Christ Jesus.  This is the true orthodoxy which Christ Jesus taught to his apostles, which is the orthodoxy Jesus' apostles taught, which is an orthodoxy based upon a one-headed God, who sent His one Spirit into the cosmos, who had a son who became the one mediator of a new covenant between God and those believing upon the name of Jesus, who became our one and only high priest of that new covenant, who became the one and only head of his one new body, the one new temple of the living God which He built with only one of His "hands"!  Where and how the subjects about the oneness of God and His Word are written, and about how under His new covenant all those who believe upon the name of Jesus Christ are now one with Him, is the concept for which the followers of Christ Jesus should give their primary attention.  The scriptural subjects matters in God's Word in which He uses examples given in twos, threes, fours, fives, through to twelve's and beyond that, are subject matters of secondary to, and subordinate to the subject matter of the oneness of the God with His creation.  When quality of truth in translation suffers mostly on account of inaccuracy of translation, the oneness of God with His creation is the first Truth which is destroyed, and the one which is destroyed the most.


It's arguable that truth in translation is intrinsic in accuracy of translation.  Who would argue against that?  And who would listen to that argument?  Fools?.  Without accuracy in biblical translation there would be no proportionate Truth in a Bible translation.  Then accuracy must have something to do with a standard of quality of some kind for which a translation can be measured.  Apart from academic discussions in the halls of theological debate and exploration, accuracy mentioned in blogs isn't often defined and linked to a definite standard or benchmark of quality of translation.  Is accuracy defined by how well a translator renders the heart and soul meaning into another language of what an author wrote, without adding, changing, or deleting anything from the author's meaning?  Is accuracy defined by how well a translator can side step a language's grammatical rules for transcription to sculpt a translation which accommodates and includes aspects of theological ideas which came along hundreds of years after the authors wrote what they wrote, to "correct" the theology of the authors, and to in essence attempt to perform a post-history revision of a previous orthodoxy now considered to be heretical? 


Accuracy and truth in translation is judged by whom?  God, in His Word confers the right to each and every person individually, to read, and to judge, and to determine what is believable in His Word to enable an individual to receive salvation.  A way to destroy an individual's conferred right from God to determine one's own salvation through one's own belief of His Word, would be to establish mechanisms through which accuracy, readability and elegance in translation are falsely defined, or to supply an erroneous supposition that any one or another of the three is actually relevant.  What is actually relevant to quality of translation if not truth in translation first and foremost? 


- Accuracy - The Translator Is Responsible For This


The translator is responsible for the accuracy of a translation from one language into another.  But how can accuracy of translation be measured?  Ultimately the accuracy of translation must be measured by comparing how close does the translation come to saying exactly what the author wrote and meant in the source language.


This takes us to the next step in how to determine accuracy.  How can what the author wrote actually be determined, to establish a benchmark against which to measure?  Establishing a benchmark of meaning requires a translator to actually examine in a very detailed and systematic method what the author actually wrote.  So then in this systematic examination of a text exactly what specific parts of it are to be examined?


- Grammatical Accuracy


The next step in determining exactly what must be systematically examined in order to produce a benchmark for measuring accuracy, leads us to examining the grammatical rules of the language in which the author transcribed what he wrote.  Since all languages are governed by sets of rules for their transcription, what are the grammatical rules governing the transcription of what the author wrote, in the language in which he wrote?  In the biblical Greek we know that it contains verbs and adverbs, nouns and pronouns, prepositions, adjectives, articles, conjunctions, etc., and there are rules governing these grammatical parts of speech and how they are to be assembled together like building blocks into a sentence conveying a coherent meaning.  Adverbs modify verbs, and adjectives modify nouns, and verbs have direct and indirect objects and so on. 


- Inflected Form Accuracy


But in order to really get down to how grammatical parts of speech in the author's language are to be accurately fitted together with one another a translator must examine the specific and unique inflected forms of those parts of speech which the author deliberately chose, to sculpt his words in such a way to make coherent phrases, which in turn connect together to make coherent clauses, which in turn create a coherent sentence with a specific meaning.  For example, in the biblical Greek, verbs have a total of eight points of inflection which seem to be able to be combined into almost any combination with one another to produce a verb with a very specific meaning, which points of inflection are, type, mood, tense, voice, case, gender, person, and number.  Translators know also that sentences, like building blocks, need to be connected together to portray a thought, concept, or idea.  And so what a translator must systematically examine, before he can begin to make a translation, are all of these things. 


Now that a verb's inflected form is determined, a translator must examine the word's inherent historical root meaning.  A word's root meaning is the basis for guidance in rendering it into a English equivalent.  The root meanings of words, more or less depending upon the word, slowly change over time, or not.  The translator must look into this as well while determining a possible rendering.  Figures of speech, which are socially adopted peculiar ways of expressing thoughts, often preclude a word's root meaning, on account of a phrase, clause or sentence may be used idiomatically.  In which case its meaning isn't obvious from the correspondence of the words root meanings alone. 


- Contextual Accuracy


Another force bearing upon the meaning of a word, in addition to a word's root meaning and specifically inflected form , is the context of the meanings of other phrases, clauses and sentences around it.  In the latter part of Acts in which Luke writes about apostle Paul's latter itineraries, much of the narrative is about what happen to them while traveling by sea from one port to the next.  In the context of many of those passages is a concentration of the use of nautical words and terms.  In Acts 27:13, a noun is used as having a much greater meaning than simply the expression of its root meaning, and a verb is used likewise.  The following is an example of how context is very important in understanding a writer's intended meaning of his used of words.


Acts 27:13 (LIT/UBS4) But (de) a south wind (notou) having blown gently (hupopneusantos), they having concluded (doxantes) to have powerfully held (kekratēkenai) the (tēs) preparation (protheseōs) [feast?], they having lifted (arantes) [anchors?], they were causing themselves to course closely alongside (asson parelegonto) of the (tēn) Crete (Krētē).


preparation [feast?] - The inherent root meaning of the word preparation doesn't imply what kind of preparation is to be made, or to what occasion a preparation is to be associated.  But close attention to contexts, local and remote, often reveals a writer's full meaning intended, even though a single word is used.  In Acts 27 Luke begins his record of apostle Paul and companions sailing to Italy to appear before a Caesar.

In Acts 27:9 Luke mentions that Paul and his companions were over-eager to get somewhere, stating that this eagerness was related to a fast which has already passed.   


The most famous Hebrew fast was the one prescribed in the Mosaic Law, given in Lev. 16:29.  This was a fast which the children of Israel were to keep forever (Lev. 16:29, 34).  This fast was to be done in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, the month, or moon -th, of Tishrei, and on the 10th day.  Also in the month of Tishrei was a feast which the law prescribed for the children of Israel to celebrate, the Feast of Booths (Sukkoth), which purpose was to remember and celebrate the giving of the Mosaic law, and to renew the covenant the God made between the children of Israel and Himself (Deut. 31:10-13), and His deliverance of them.  This feast was to be practiced once every seven years (Deut. 31:10).  This feast was to be kept every seventh year, in the seventh month, on the fifteenth day, five days after the fast was to be kept. 


In Acts 27:9, if the fast mentioned here is truly the same fast given in the Mosaic law, and it had already passed, apparently Paul and companions were anxious to reach land somewhere where they could properly prepare for and keep the Feast of Booths.  According to Acts 27:12, the ship entered a harbor on the south side of Crete, a harbor in Phoenix, where they wintered.  In Acts 27:13, at this time, they being in a harbor in Phoenix of Crete, Paul and companions were still well over one thousand nautical miles away from Rome, which is much to far to hope to make it in the next few days, before the beginning of the Feast of Booths.  If the fast Luke mentioned in verse 9 is the Mosaic Law fast, then the scriptural evidence indicates that here in Phoenix is where Paul and companions made preparations to keep the once every seventh year feast, the Feast of Booths.  On our modern calendar this fast and feast would occur between late-September to mid-October.


In Acts 27:13 Luke used the transitive verb airō, specifically its inflected form arantes, a participle type, with an aorist tense, an active voice, a masculine gender, and a plural number, which very specifically equates to "they having lifted".  But what did they lift?  Where's the direct object?  In verse 29 Luke records that the sailors threw four anchors out of the stern of the ship to stabilize it.  Next, bow anchors are mentioned in verse 30.  Again in verse 40 anchors are mentioned, "And (kai) they having taken up all around (perielontes) the (tas) anchors (ankuras) ...".  So we can see that in the immeadiate context, verses 29, 30 and 40, that in verse 13 what the sailors lifted before beginning to sail was most likely the anchors.  This is how, through close attention to context, even though the writer may use only a single word, a word can have a greater meaning implied than only the meaning of the word itself.


- Figurative Accuracy


Once a translator has examined all of these things, which parts of speech did the author use, the root meanings of those words, the author's use of specific inflected forms of words, the context in which those words were used, then a translator can begin to make a translation, which by necessity must be literal first.  Only after a literal translation is made first can a translator determine if any phrase, clause or sentence was intended by the writer to be used as a figure of speech of some kind.  This is because when figures are translated literally based upon a word's root meaning, and then its inflection is applied, that meaning often appears discordant with the flow of meaning in the immediate context.  The main problem translators face when encountering a figure of speech is in determining whether the figure is real and verifiable, or whether it is simply being imagined as a product of over-active theological speculation.


- Cultural Accuracy


In the Preface of the book by James M. Freeman, "Manners And Customs of the Bible", is a quote from the work of Rev. W, Graham, from his book "The Jordan And The Rhine", in which quote Rev. Graham sums up the challenge Westerners may have when reading Bible passages which reference Eastern customs an cultural practices:


"Though the Bible is adapted to all nations, it is in many respects an oriental book.  It represents the modes of thought and the peculiar customs of a people who, in their habits, widely differ from us.  One who lived among them for many years has graphically said: 'Modes, customs, usages, all that you can set down to the score of the national, the social, or the conventional, are precisely as different from yours as the east is different from the west. They sit when you stand; they lie when you sit; they do to the head what you do to the feet; they use fire when you use water; you shave the beard, they shave the head; you move the hat, they touch the breast; you use the lips in salutation, they touch the forehead and the cheek; your house looks outwards, their house looks inwards; you go out to take a walk, they go up to enjoy the fresh air; you drain your land, they sigh for water; you bring your daughters out, they keep their wives and daughters in; your ladies go barefaced through the streets, their ladies are always covered.'" - Freeman, James M. Manners And Customs of the Bible. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1972.


Translating cultural practices, aside from the danger of confusing their references with figures of speech, is relatively easy, when the translation methodology used is to simply quote exactly what the apostles wrote.  Their are hundreds of books written and available which explain the meanings of Eastern cultural practices mentioned in the Bible, which cultural customs and practices, as Rev. Graham has explained to us, are essential to know and understand in order to understand the full meaning of the contexts in which they are referred.

These are some examples of the challenges which are encountered when striving for accuracy in a translation.  A translator must pay close attention to grammatical accuracy, inflected form accuracy, contextual accuracy, figurative accuracy and cultural accuracy if a translation is to accurately reflect truth in translation to a reader.  And so these elements of accuracy in a translation can serve as the fundamental elements necessary for the establishment of a benchmark for accuracy, against which a translation can be measured.


- Readability - Both The Author And The Translator Are Responsible For This


There are many opinions and proposed definitions of what exactly is readability: easy to read, legible, decipherable, enjoyable, entertaining, stimulating, captivating, and so on.  These proposed elements of readability obviously portray desired outcomes which are much more broadly based than the simple mechanical presentation of a translation on a page.  I suppose the gamut of desired outcomes of readability to a reader runs from a reader's own subjective and emotional response to what they read to an almost imperceptible hindrance by the medium to the conveyance of that information to the reader.   And so readability, to some degree, must be based upon personal preference, about what exactly does the reader want to get out of a Bible translation.  It may be all of these things, or maybe none of these things, depending upon a reader's recipe of desires at any given time they wish to read. 


I've already stated that I believe that truth in translation is the goal, the bullseye, when aiming at quality of translation from one language into another, in this case Greek into English.  This is because I give what the biblical texts have said are important about themselves preeminence in importance.  So then when we examine the readability of a translation, I propose that we must at least measure how easily does a translation present the Godly Truth within the translation, to the mind of the reader. 


But speaking now with hyperbole, if a reader believes that Bibles in general do not contain God's Word to His creation, but only myths and fairy tales cleverly invented thousands of years ago, then the God's Truth is obviously not a reason why that reader is reading a Bible translation, but that reading it for its entertainment value to him or her is more likely the reason.  So then should we establish a readability benchmark based solely upon how well does the mechanical presentation on a page maximize and present entertainment value to a reader?  I only say this to make the point that to millions of readers of Bible translations, there could be an indecipherable number of perceptions of what constitutes a Bible translation's readability.


How about if a reader cares more for how one particular translation states something than another, preferring opinionated paraphrases that sound less harsh or gritty compared to more direct quotes of what biblical authors wrote, then does what was written count as a strike for or against a translation in place of how it was mechanically presented on the page?  So then how can the possible gamut of anyone's personal subjective preferences about readability be quantified into a single "one size fits all" mechanical form of presentation on a page?  I think we can agree that that is an impossibility.  So as you can see we're starting to work down into finding a method of measuring readability of a Bible translation which can be expressed in a quantified way.


How can anyone's own personal subjective perception of a Bible translation's readability be quantified somehow?  Quantifying accuracy of translation, and how that contributes to overall quality of translation, was easy, because the elements of accuracy are objective elements.  A definition of readability can't simply be about the mechanical design presentation of biblical subject matter on a page, and much less about how a reader subjectively feels about what he or she may read, and what it may mean to him or her.  But since that is the reality, that readability is conceived and perceived in a reader's own mind, then that points us toward a characteristic which must be inherent in a page design.  An ultimate page design must be so simple that it neither promotes nor hinders a reader's own subjective perception of a bible translation's readability.


The simplest way I know of to present anything on a written page for a reader to read is the way I'm doing it right here and now for you.  I'm using no clutter; no embellishments with a plethora of fonts and font colors, no underlines, no superscripts or subscripts, no overlines, no blinking words or words in all caps, but only italics occasionally.  This presentation format uses none of those other things.  This caters to my conclusion that most Bible readers, or readers of anything, want to read formats that are as easy to read as possible.  Frankly, I believe that most readers of anything would choose to work less than work harder to learn and understand what they are reading, including Bible readers.  But the prophets of the God, and the apostles of Christ Jesus, didn't necessarily write what they wrote, the way they wrote it, to accommodate people's desire to approach God's Word like a fast food restaurant drive-through window. 


 Arguably, the prophets and apostles wrote using many grammatical mechanisms for the purpose of drawing readers into the height, width, depth and breadth of God's Word.  Most of the time, from my own experience, reading God's Word requires consciousness, and vigilance in following what an author is saying, word by word, phrase by phrase, clause by clause, and sentence by sentence, and resisting moving on until what has been read is reasonably understood in light of the whole context.  In this sense, if readability can be partially defined as understandability, then the author is in control of readability, through how what he wrote challenges the readers level of comprehension.  So how does one's own level of comprehension affect one's own perceived readability of a Bible translation?  Obviously , age, maturity, reading skills, and prior education and training in biblical issues, affect one's level of comprehension of biblical concepts and subject matters, and thereby may tend to enhance one's own perceived readability of a Bible translation.  But not only that, how well a Bible translation caters to one's own preconceived theological ideas which he or she has been orally taught from early childhood, may tend to enhance one's own perception of a Bible's readability.


But if the number one reason why most readers of Bible translations read is because they want to know exactly what the God has said, and especially what He says to them, the straight Truth, then maybe that's a good enough reason for the God to give them the gift of His paternal holy Spirit, so He can begin teaching them through it.  And then, as the apostles have stated, a reader's possession of His Spirit working within him or her gives him or her the ability to comprehend His subject matters, and assimilate them into their thinking and decision-making.  Therefore, I believe that a reader's ability to conceptualize biblical subject matters has the most to do with a reader's perceived readability of a biblical text.  I am convinced, not only from reading and believing what the apostles wrote, but through experiencing it for myself, that God's Spirit working in a disciple of Christ Jesus is required to properly understand the Word and words of the God (1 Cor. 2:9-15; John 8:43-44).  And that people are destroyed by the devil and his little demon spirits because of lack of knowledge of His Word (Hos. 4:6; John 10:9-10). 


So then how do paraphrased translations versus literal word for word translations affect one's own perception of the readability of a Bible translation?  Paraphrases tend to tell the reader what to believe, rather than what the writer actually wrote.  Paraphrases are easier to read because they usually remove the authors grammatical mechanisms deliberately used to challenge the readers decision-making.  If a reader can read without being challenged by the specific wording of an author, which wording constantly accosts the reader to stop and think, and to make a lot of decisions along the way, then that's easier reading for the reader, because the reader doesn't need to work so much, and so hard, to get at the Truth.  And that is why paraphrased Bible translations sell better, which makes Bible publishers as happy as can be.  Paraphrased Bibles obfuscate the sayings of Christ Jesus and the writings of apostle Paul the most, because those two biblical characters used the most grammatical mechanisms of all; in Jesus' sayings through removing his use of middle voiced verbs, and in most all of Paul's letters through removing his heavy uses ellipsis.


So then, should a literal word for word quote of what an apostle wrote, or how he wrote it, be altered to accommodate anyone's subjective opinion about their own preferences in a translation's readability?  If altering means paraphrasing or creative "synonyming", or adding to, or changing, or detracting from quoting the exact words which an apostle used, then I say no to any alterations.  I believe there is no excuse whatsoever for not simply quoting what an apostle wrote.  A Bible's readability can't be legitimately based upon altering the Truth of God's Word to accommodate greater readability, to accommodate greater Bible sales! 


My conclusion about readability is that what the biblical authors actually wrote, the way they wrote it, should be solely responsible for a Bible translation's readability.  In reality, a Bible reader's perceived readability of a translation changes minute by minute, sentence by sentence, and subject matter by subject matter.  In a Bible translation, which in the first place should simply quote the apostles, the subject matters which the apostles wrote about, and the words they used, and the word orders they chose, and the figures they chose to use, and the grammatical mechanisms they used to make their points, should all be allowed to factor into a reader's subjectively perceived readability of a Bible translation.  I say a Bible translation should not compromise the telling of the Truth for any reason, least of all readability.  The Truth, as the prophets and apostles witness it to us, should be allowed to accost a Bible reader's level of comprehension, so that through the challenge of God's Word for a disciple of Christ Jesus to rise of to the level of the bar in spiritual comprehension, can have its way.  Scripturally speaking, God's Word calls for readers to rise up to the level of it, to understand it, and not dumb-down the truth of God's Word.  And if a reader's heart truly wishes to understand God's Word, God's Spirit in him or her will teach him or her, and then ultimately a Bible reader's perception of a Bible's readability will be self-attenuating, as according to God's Word, it should be.


 - Elegance - The Author is Responsible For This


Most definitions of elegance boil it down to the character of being graceful and fashionable in manner or appearance.  Some may be surprised to hear me state that the aspect of elegance in the quality of a Bible translation is totally in the hands of holy Spirit, the God, working through the authors of the texts of the biblical books of a Bible.  Mortalkind's ideas of grace and fashion, and many other things mortals do among themselves for approval from themselves, are usually contrary to, and abominations to, the God's definition of grace and fashion (Luke 16:15).  If a biblical book is translated correctly, the translation will do no more, or no less, than simply quote its author.  Then whatever elegance is there or not there in the Greek texts, is subsequently either there or not there in the translations.


The challenge to a translator is to successfully resist any inclination to manufacture elegance into a translation when rendering the Greek into English.  Another challenge is to recognize whatever elegance there may be in the way the author wrote what he wrote in the Greek texts.  A translator, including the Pope, doesn't egomaniacally and omnisciently know better than the author what the author should have written, or what the author should have meant.  What the author wrote and meant should be left up to the reader to determine for himself or herself, from reading a simple straight quote of exactly what the author wrote.  For a translator to overrule anything about what an author wrote, or the way an author wrote it, demonstrates contempt for God's Word, and contempt for God's "mouthpiece", the apostle who wrote it.  And further more, it would be spiritually inelegant to manufacture mortal made elegance into a translation, if that meant abandoning exactly what the author wrote.  Simply, accurately, and thoroughly quoting a biblical author is the greatest feat of translation work that a translator can accomplish.  The following is a partial quote of Joseph Gibaldi in his book "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers":


"The accuracy of quotations in research writing is extremely important.  They must reproduce the original sources exactly.  Unless indicated in brackets or parentheses, changes must not be made in the spelling, capitalization, or interior punctuation of the source.  You must construct a clear, grammatically correct sentence that allows you to introduce or incorporate a quotation with complete accuracy." - Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Sixth ed. New York: American Language Association of America, 2004.


This is only one example of thousands, in thousands of books about English grammar, form, and style.  but it clearly reflects the sacred rule which all writers are implored to follow, that absolutely not one thing should be changed when quoting a secular work of another.  When quoting Grimm, Milton, Cervantes or Chaucer, et al., absolutely not so much as a comma or period shall be misplaced.  But yet, from comparing English Bible translations of the new testament to the Greek texts from which they supposedly came, theologically-based paraphrases and creative "synonyming" are slam banged all over the place, as if there is a silent and unwritten addendum to this rule, which states: "...except if the author is a biblical author writing under the authority and guidance of holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:19-21), then by all means possible absolutely do not allow a clear, accurate, and thorough quote of the authors."